Upcycle | Fire Starters


For years we spent countless dollars on fire starters from the grocery store.  The good news is, with a little pre-planning, you can make your own at home using items you may already have around.

To do this project you will need:

    • Empty cardboard egg tray
    • Lint from dryer
    • Leftover candles
    • Old pot or old Pyrex glass measuring cup with heat safe handle
    • Stove or heat source for melting wax
    • Aluminum foil
    • Hot pad
    • Kitchen Shears or box knife
    • Plastic Ziplock Sandwich Bags

Step 1: I keep a used egg carton tray (paper not styrofoam, nor plastic) near the dryer.  Stuff lint into egg carton as you do loads of laundry — you will want each egg unit to be completely full of lint.

Step 2: When you have a couple of trays full of lint, you are ready to do a batch.

Step 3: Begin by placing old candles in a old pot or old Pyrex measuring cup with handle and melt at a low temp over a burner.

Step 4: While wax is melting, place egg carton tray on a sheet of aluminum foil — this will keep any wax drippings from going onto your counter.

Step 5: Once wax has melted, using hotpad to stabilize the hot Pyrex, pour carefully and evenly over the lint coating well.

Step 6: Allow wax to cool.

Step 7: Once cool, cut into individual units.  I placed four units into a Ziplock plastic sandwich bag to keep them dry.

Step 8: When ready to use, place one under kindling and fire will start with ease! We use this to start camp fires as well as the smoker with success each time.

Recipe | Campfire Brunswick Stew


We love pulled pork and often make left over sandwiches, but another option is putting it into a Brunswick Stew. We just tried this recipe created by Griffin Bufkin/Harrison Sapp Southern Soul Barbeque of Saint Simons Island, GA that was posted on the Food Network and it was soooo tasty!  Have left over chicken? Shred and use as another option as well.  Throw the following items into a pot and let it simmer over a camp fire. Taaaas-ty! Especially yummy on a colder day.  (Note: we also added kidney beans to the mix.)

Brunswick Stew

Prep Time: 15 min Inactive
Prep Time:  —
Cook Time: 2 hr 25 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 20 plus servings

1/2 pound salted butter
3 cups (2 large) finely diced sweet onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup vinegar bbq sauce
1/2 cup brown sweet bbq sauce
1 pound smoked pulled pork
1/2 pound smoked pulled chicken
1/2 pound smoked pulled turkey
1 pound smoked chopped beef brisket
1 (number 10) can crushed tomatoes
1 quart drained yellow corn kernels
1 quart drained baby lima beans
1 quart or more quality chicken stock or broth

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced onions and the garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes then add 1/2 cup of vinegar sauce and 1/2 cup of bbq sauce. Stir in the pulled pork, chicken, turkey, and brisket. Add the crushed tomatoes and all of the vegetables. Stir in the chicken stock and let simmer for a couple hours over medium heat. Transfer the stew to a serving bowl and serve with warm buttermilk cornbread, if desired.

This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

5 Tips for RVing with an Infant or Toddler

Traveling with a little one still in diapers?  Here are some tips that have helped us keep things manageable.


  1. Have storage that acts as double duty.  I love my ottoman that I picked up from Home Goods – the lid pops off and I’m currently using it for diapers, wipes, and related supplies. I like that it is nearby where I lay little Miss down to change her on the couch and everything is in arms reach.  When not changing baby I can use to put my feet up while sitting at the couch or flip the lid and use it as a spot to keep my drinks or munchies.  We just put the ottoman on the couch before moving the pull-outs in and taking off.
  2. Stow a pack-n-play under the bed and use as baby’s crib at night.  It’s one of the last things pulled out in the evening and the first things to be put away in the morning.  You could also take it outside and use it to keep baby in a safe spot depending on the weather – just be aware of how much time your baby or toddler is spending in it.
  3. One of our survival pieces left over from raising twins was the baby corral.  The interlocking system is easy to take apart and folds up for easy transport.  We’ve used this to contain our dogs when they would travel with us and have also used it to keep our little ones in a safe zone while we are busy making dinner or taking care of things around the site.  Be mindful of providing your little one with toys to play with while in the coral and be sure to check the location well when establishing where it will be, making sure no items that could be potentially harmful are hiding on the ground.  You’ll also want to avoid placing on an area with small pebbles that would fit in baby’s mouth.
  4. Look for a site close to a play area if it is available.  You will need to be present while they play, but it makes it easier to go back and forth to your site if you are nearby.
  5. Pack outfits in gallon size ziplock bags – makes it easy to stow and also helps you quickly see that you have enough outfits for each day of your stay. Each bag needs to have a top, second layer (if spring or fall), pant/skirt, socks, shoes (if the daily option doesn’t match the outfit), and any hair accessory (if packing for a girl).  I also pack a fabric bag to put dirty clothes into making it easy to transport to a laundry facility if you’re on the road for an extended period.

exploring our world as a family